From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Mark Murray
The donors who are financing the new multi-million-dollar TV ad campaign arguing against a withdrawal from Iraq include a Who's Who of former Bush Administration ambassadors (to plum assignments like France, Italy, and Malta); a least one of Bush's original Pioneers; the man ranked by Forbes (in 2006) as the third-richest American; and, of course, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.
Brad Blakeman, the president of Freedom's Watch, which is running these ads, released the following names as donors to his group. Blakeman told NBC that the rest of the donors are choosing to be anonymous. Freedom's Watch is a 501(c)4 organization, which can collect unlimited contributions and doesn't have to disclose its donors.
Here they are....
-- Anthony Gioia, former ambassador to Malta. Per a White House press release announcing his appointment as ambassador, "Gioia is presently the Chairman and CEO of Gioia Management Company, a management and investment holding company located in Buffalo, New York."
-- Kevin Moley, whom Bush appointed U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva in September 2001. Per the White House press release announcing his appointment, Moley "was a private investor and served on the Board of Directors of five publicly held companies and three privately held companies. He previously served as a consultant to Kinetra LLC, the successor company to Integrated Medical Systems Inc., which Ambassador Moley served as President and CEO. Ambassador Moley was also Senior Vice President of PCS Health Systems, Inc."
-- Mel Sembler, whom Bush appointed as US ambassador to Italy in 2001. According to a State Department bio, Stembler was "most recently the Chairman of the Board of The Sembler Company, one of the nation's leading shopping center developers. He is nationally recognized as an activist in the anti-drug campaign and as a staunch, long-time supporter of the Republican Party and its candidates."
-- Howard Leach, who was Bush's ambassador to France from 2001-2005 and an original Bush Pioneer. Per the US embassy's Web site, Leach is "an entrepreneur, investor and chief executive. He began his career as founder and president of several agri-business corporations. He has served as president and major shareholder of numerous industrial and financial companies."
-- Dr. John Templeton is chairman and president of the John Templeton Foundation
-- Edward Snider
-- Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul, ranked as the third-richest American (worth $20 billion) according to Forbes in 2006
-- Richard Fox
-- Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary
-- Gary Erlbaum
-- Matt Brooks